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Portlaoise Panthers On The Cusp Of National U-20 Success

They face Waterford Wildcats in the National Cup decider on Sunday.

Portlaoise Panthers Women's U-20s are on the hunt for a National Cup this weekend. 

They play Waterford Wildcats, whom this group have met in both U16 and U18 grade in recent years, splitting the series one apiece. 

Five of the team that will take the court for the Waterford side are playing Super League basketball at the moment. 

But Panthers coach Jack Dooley says they have plenty of weapons themselves:

It's great to be back. We missed out last year on the competition due to covid and have a fierce strong team going into the weekend. The girls are itching to go, we're itching to go and there's a great buzz around the club and town in the build up to the final. 

It's been neck and neck with ourselves and Waterford since U-16. They beat us then and we got them in the U18 final, so it's 1-1 in the series as far as we're concerned and it's the last time that this group will play them underage for a lot of the girls. 

Waterford are a very strong team. They have five or six players playing Super League basketball this season and they've got international coaches in their set up as well, so there's a lot expected of them. 

To be fair we've six girls ourselves who are in their last year U-20 that have represented Ireland in the past and we can only start five. It's really tough, Sarah (Fleming) has been brilliant for us this year in the national league and again in the semi-final.

Sarah's actually won the world schools three point contest in Crete there two years ago competing against the best players in the world, so we're delighted to have her on our side. 

I wouldn't like to be coming up against her, that's for sure. 

Tip off is at 11am on Sunday and you can her from Jack in the aftermath of that game on The Inside Line on Midlands103 that afternoon. 

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